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The 20 Best Time Travel Movies

03 September 2013 | Features, Film Lists | by David Zou

time travel movies

The genre of science fiction movies has many splintered sub-genres and tangents. One of the more thought-provoking, outrageous, and enjoyable science fiction sub genres is time travel movies. From Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” to H.G. Wells, time travel has been a intriguing plot device in popular written fiction for centuries. That “what if” appeal has carried over into creative medium of film, where many of those stories have played out on the silver screen. Here are the 20 greatest time travel movies in history.


20. Back to The Future Part 3


Where Do They Start? Specifically, in this film, 1955 – but Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) has done a lot of time-travelling by this point.

Where Do They End Up? 1885, where Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) is stuck.

Biggest Culture Clash: Marty adopts the non de plume of Clint Eastwood to get by.

Unresolved Paradox: If Doc Brown got stuck in 1885, and left his DeLorean for Marty to travel back to rescue him, that means there must be two DeLoreans in the Wild West now.


19. Superman: The Movie


Where Do They Start? After Superman (Christopher Reeve) has failed to save Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) from being killed.

Where Do They End Up? Before the tragedy, as a result of Supes flying really fast around the earth.

Biggest Culture Clash: Superman breaks his father’s code of non-interference.

Unresolved Paradox: Why doesn’t the act of reversing time actually reverse Superman’s own flight path and send him back to Earth arse-over-tit?


18. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure


Where Do They Start? 1988, where slackers and future world leaders Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are about to flunk their history exam.

Where Do They End Up? Open the history book; pick a page. These guys need the help of Napoleon, Billy The Kid, Abe Lincoln and So-crates.

Biggest Culture Clash: At Waterloo, Napoleon did surrender. Except here it’s a water park.

Unresolved Paradox: The film’s central premise. Bill and Ted only rule the world through their music, because their older selves convince them to do so.


17. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


Where Do They Start? Just another fun-filled day at Hogwarts for Harry and Hermione.

Where Do They End Up? Three hours ago, thanks to Hermione’s time-turner.

Biggest Culture Clash: Wondering why nobody ever uses the time-turner again in the films.

Unresolved Paradox: Harry saves himself by throwing a Patronus charm, which he only knew he could do because he realises it was himself who threw it.

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  • Ana

    I’d include Looper

  • Chris M.

    I’d include The Butterfly Effect